Chapter Eleven

Some time later, Natalie admitted to Michael that she was feeling fatigued. “I hate to say this, but I think I need to go home. I’m feeling pretty tired. She looked around for the guys, and caught Jon’s eye. They came over, and Natalie said her goodbyes. “You’ll never know how much tonight meant to me. I’ll never forget this, not as long as I – well, never. When I close my eyes at night, it will be your beautiful song that plays in my head. Thank you.”

She exchanged hugs with the foursome, then Patti walked them out. Michael handed his sister into the car, then turned to Patti. “I echo Nat’s words. I’ll never forget this, what you’ve done for Natalie. Thank you.” He leaned in to kiss her lips gently, but when Patti made a strangled noise in the back of her throat, Michael deepened the kiss. Natalie, seeing the exchange, smiled to herself.

She noticed a large envelope on the seat across from her. Her name was scrawled across it in bold letters. Opening the envelope, she pulled out a series of large photographs from tonight. There was a shot of Jon leading Natalie to the stage, one of each of the four kissing her – these were autographed – and one of the four sitting around her as they sang. Fresh tears sprung to her eyes. Their thoughtfulness was just astounding.

Michael reluctantly broke the kiss. Patti looked into his eyes. “If you say you’re sorry, I’ll have Stan here,” she nodded at the driver, who was built like a linebacker, “kick your ass.” She softened her words with a wink and a peck on the cheek. She slipped her card into his hand. Call me sometime, and we can see if this – whatever it is – is something. Oh, and don’t forget about the envelope in your pocket. Good night, Michael.”

“Good night, and I’m not sorry,” Michael replied, getting into the car.

Natalie looked at the stunned look on her brother’s face, and laughed. “Everything go all right out there?” she teased.

“Yeah, brat, everything’s fine. How are you doing?”

“I’m OK, just tired. You should call her. She seems very nice, and, um, interested in you.” Michael shot her a look. Undaunted, Natalie continued. “Michael, look at what was waiting for me on the seat in here. Can you believe it? Those guys, they are genuinely nice guys.”

“Yeah, they are,” Michael readily agreed, looking through the photographs.. “I have something else for you; something Patti gave to me earlier tonight.” He took the envelope out of his pocket and opened it. “Before you give me a hard time, Patti told me that Jon specifically said you weren’t to get this until we were on the way home.” He handed her a CD that was gaily wrapped, and kept a smaller envelope that had his name written across it.

Opening the CD, Natalie gasped. On the cover was a picture of the four men posing around the card she sent. The titles on the CD read “Thank You (Natalie’s Song)”. She removed the insert from the case, and unfolded it to see a note written in the same bold script that was written on the picture envelope.

Dear Natalie:

It was our great pleasure to meet you. We hope this CD brings you joy in the days and weeks ahead.

Sincerely,
Jon, Richie, Tico, and David


Natalie asked the driver to put the CD into the player. From the car’s speakers, she heard the a capella version of the her song. She sighed happily. Now, she didn’t have to just remember it in her head; she could hear it whenever she wanted to. Following that version of the song was Jon with a message.

“That version is just for you. This is the version we are going to put on the next album. We hope you like it.”

Richie’s guitar played a haunting melody. David’s piano joined in, sounding mournful. Tico’s soft beat was like a heartbeat; slow and steady. By the time they started singing, she was lost. If it were possible, this version was more beautiful than the first. At the end of the song, each band member had a spoken message for Natalie.

“Sweetheart, we hope you had fun tonight. I’m sure we will. It’s trite, I know, but I truly pray for a miracle for you. Your story is very touching, and your kind words and thoughts have spoken to something inside each of us. Good luck, baby. Love Richie.”

“Querida, it was a pleasure to meet you tonight. Know that your story, your life, has touched ours. We meant every word we said in that song. Thank you for loving us, and know that we love you right back. Love, Tico.”

“Natalie, our thoughts and prayers are with you. We know we’ll have had a wonderful time with you tonight, so thank you in advance for the kiss . Good luck, darlin’. Love, Dave.”

“Baby, we hope you enjoyed the song – I know we enjoyed writing it for you. We will think of you whenever we play it. We sincerely hope that we have brought some measure of pleasure and comfort to your life. Good luck, sweetheart. We’ll be praying for you. Love always, Jon.”


While Natalie sat there, silent tears spilling from her eyes as the CD cycled through again, Michael opened and read his own note.

Michael:

We are happy to have been able to brighten your sister’s day. Her story, and her presence, has touched us all. Please, if there’s anything we can do to help, just call the number below. We will do what we can.

Sincerely,
Jon, Richie, Tico, and David


Michael pulled out his phone and programmed in Patti’s numbers, and the number listed on the note. This last one, he filed under “Miracle”.

3 comments:

Stephanie said...

I just love this. I read the latest installment this morning at work and needed a tissue. Thanks for sharing this lovely story.

Tara Leigh said...

Another bad timing on the damn itunes. Cripes, I'm reading this with MAM in the background.
*sniff*

Not good.
Great writing, but dammit. Just kill me. LOL

smrf said...

Tears again.

I'm just loving this story! I'm kind of glad I found it so late so that I don't have to wait to read more, LOL